He is just two years old in the Indian Film Industry but he has worked with the likes of Mahesh Bhatt, Mohit Suri, Kunal Kohli, Tanuja Chandra, Anurag Basu, Priyadarshan, and Sudhir Mishra. Now that is no joke! Best known for his performance in Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Gangster, and Woh Lamhe, this talented actor has a lot to offer in the coming years. Call him the unsung hero or the last man standing, Shiney Ahuja is now seen in Sudhir Mishra's latest outing Khoya Khoya Chand. Excerpts from the interview:Tell us a little about your background - from modeling to films. What has the journey been like?
Well, I am from Delhi and I did a lot of theatre there before coming here to Mumbai, and when I came to Mumbai, I started doing ad films, after ad films I was called for an audition by Mr. Sudhir Mishra, and I went and I gave audition for Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and the rest is history.
You seem to be Sudhirji's favorite actor. How has your relationship grown with Sudhirji since HKA? How does it feel to be the special one?
It feels really good considering that he is my favorite director. I greatly like and admire him and I feel privileged to be his favorite one as you say, and it is an honor.
What is the film Khoya Khoya Chand about?
KKC is a period film, its about the film industry in the 50's and the 60's and its about the journey of a young man who comes from a small town, comes in to Mumbai, then starts writing for films and eventually he directs his own film. It is from my point of view how I see the film industry of the 50's and 60's.
What was your initial reaction when Sudhirji came to you with Zafar's role?
Actually, I heard the script after I had signed the film because I knew when Sudhir offered me the film; it would be a great script in any case. Obviously, then I read the script and was very fascinated with the role of Zafar.
How did you see your character in the film in terms of his aspirations, dreams, and his values?
He is a very sincere person, his only ambition is to make a good film, and that is what matters to him more than anything else does. Zafar is a lot like Sudhir Mishra's character. When you work with Sudhir as a director, making a good film matters the most to him and it's a lot like me also. I don't let anything come in the way of my performance. So the character is pretty much the same and that's the fun part about it.
Did you do any kind of preparations for the character of Zafar? Did you have to work really hard on your diction?
I had to work hard on my diction because I being a Punjabi had to speak like Zafar from Lucknow. Therefore, in terms of language, I had to work a little hard. But then, there is no substitute for hard work, is there?
What is so interesting about your character Zafar?
He is just like any other human being in a lot of ways and yet not. He is very special because of his passion for what he believes in - I mean the script, the stories, his ideas as a writer and as a director. He has certain dreams, which he wants them to come true like any other individual. That's what makes the role more interesting.
What kind of costumes did you wear in the film?
It's a period film so I had to dress up a lot in costumes, cuts and everything of that golden era of cinema. I have worn many Indian clothes in the film a lot of achkands, bandgallas, and stuff. It was a unique experience and a fulfilling one too.
Khoya Khoya Chand is a period film. Did you feel transported back into time while shooting the film?
More than the set and the costumes it is the director Mr. Sudhir Mishra who transports you to another world. I think anyone who watches this film will also feel like they are in the year 1950's they will get an idea about the people of that time and about how the film industry was in the 50's and the 60's.
What was it like working with Soha Ali Khan?
Soha is a wonderful person and she is really sweet, and as I always keep saying she is one of the most hassle free actresses. I mean everyone has his or her quacks as I say. All actors and actresses, but Soha is one person who doesn't have a quack. She is the most normal person and I think it partly has to do with her upbringing and partly the kind of person she is.
We have heard about your passion for cars. Did you enjoy driving the vintage cars in the film?
Yes I did. I enjoyed driving it a lot and the person who owned the car didn't take that too well because I kept skidding his car from one place to the other. But it was fun.
Any favorite scene and song from KKC?
That's hard because there are lots of favorite scenes of mine. There is one scene, where I get drunk. I rate that as my best shot and my favorite song is the title song 'Khoya Khoya Chand'. It's melodious and more importantly it's vintage.
Which scene was the most difficult one to perform?
Well, the one which looks the easiest to perform I think was the more difficult one to perform for me. There is a scene where I am talking to Soha in the car, and I am narrating a story to her in the car. That looks very easy but actually just to hold a scene on one take about me just telling a story was I think, quite challenging. And I thought that came out pretty well.
Considering the fact, that Khoya Khoya Chand is a tribute to the films made in the 1950's and the 1960's, which is your favorite film from that era?
Without a doubt, Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam.
Any funny moments on the sets?
Whenever I shoot with him, we have always had a good time. We kept cracking jokes and stuff, so everyday was a great day and Soha too joined in. We had a great time shooting.
This is your first film with Prakash Jha Productions. How was your experience?
Wonderful! I had great time shooting with them. This was one film where I thought that there were hardly any production problems. Usually every film has some problem or the other and even if there were any, they didn't let it hinder our work. We never felt any sort of pressure or problems. So I think overall it was a very well handled film. It was a pleasure working with Prakash Jha Productions.